This is the Too Many Trees newsletter, where I share what I’ve been writing and reading in the realm of leadership and personal development. My executive coaching practice is centered around the idea that we are more effective in moving towards our goals when we become more conscious and intentional in focusing our time and attention, and learn how our unconscious patterns are holding us back. If you know somebody that could benefit from my perspective, please forward this to them or let them know they can set up a free intro chat with me.

What's working for you?

July 09, 2023

Inspired by reading Michael Bungay Stanier's newest book on building stronger relationships (see summary below) and his emphasis on communicating what is and isn't working, I have a few questions for you as a reader. You can reply to this email with your feedback, or fill out this Google form.
  1. What is most valuable for you in this newsletter?
  2. What is least valuable for you in this newsletter?
  3. What is this newsletter missing?
  4. What is another newsletter you like, and why?
And a bonus question: What podcasts on leadership and personal development do you like? For context, I'm self-publishing a book later this year, and am looking for podcasts I could pitch myself to as a guest. I'm also looking for new sources of input, so please share the podcasts you find valuable regardless, so I can listen and learn.

P.S. You might notice that the questions above are a form of the start/stop/continue framework, as I find that framework to be effective at collecting actionable feedback (I use similar questions when conducting qualitative 360 assessments for my clients). I thought about using Stanier's relationship questions, but his questions work better in conversation than on a form.

P.P.S. Asking yourself these questions can also be a helpful reflection exercise as a mid-year check-in:
  • What's working for you? How can you get more of that in your life?
  • What's not working for you? How can you do less of that?
  • What's missing from your life? How can you experiment with adding that?
And now for the normal personal development content…
LinkedIn: These are ideas that have helped my clients (or myself), and that I share via LinkedIn to help a wider audience.
  • "I did it". I hear this many times a day from my 2-year-old daughter, who's just delighted by everything she can do. Sometimes it's jumping off a step, sometimes it's picking up a toy, but whatever it is, she joyfully shouts "I did it!" immediately. We can all learn a lesson from her in celebrating every little step in our learning.
  • "Why are you slamming your head into that brick wall?" "Because it feels _so_ good when I stop!" This macabre "joke" from my college days is a reminder that we habituate to our circumstances such that we rarely even notice when we are suffering. We have to stop and step away to realize how much we've been enduring, and notice the ways in which our current routines aren't serving us.
Books I've read recently
  • How to Work with (Almost) Anyone, by Michael Bungay Stanier. My LinkedIn summary is here, but the key takeaway is we can improve our relationships by consistently communicating about the relationship itself, especially around what is or isn't working for us. Stanier recommends using what the subtitle calls the "Five Questions for Building the Best Possible Relationship".
  • The 7 Rules of Power, by Jeffrey Pfeffer. My LinkedIn summary is here. The subtitle of the book is "Surprising--but True--Advice on How to Get Things Done and Advance Your Career", and it delivers on that promise. People don't like Pfeffer's books on power because they think the world shouldn't work that way, or that the power tactics he describes won't work for them. His point is that you will be more effective if you use these tools to amass power which you can then deploy to advance your intentions.
Thanks for reading! See you in a couple weeks!
I never get tired of seeing Lake Tahoe from above.
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